Diocesan Pakistanis Pray for Homeland Peace

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Media, Queens, NY, World News

by Katie Vasquez

Prayers for peace in Brooklyn, for a home thousands of miles away.  

Houses belonging to Christians in Pakistan were ransacked, while churches were set ablaze.  

It’s just the latest and one of the most destructive attacks on the minority Christian population in the country.  

Sheran Mehak is a native of Pakistan who came to the United States in 2014, but she remembers how difficult it was to practice her faith before migrating to the West.

“We always had a little bit of fear of going to the church especially on big occasions like Easter and Christmas because that’s where a lot of mass attacks happen,” Mehak, a parishioner of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Windsor Terrace, said.

Now she’s praying hard for those still living there.  

“Being from that part of the world, we know what it feels like to be a minority,” Mehak said. “And you can’t even practice your own faith with freedom.” 

The church offers the only Urdu Mass in the Diocese of Brooklyn. It’s a chance for Pakistani Catholics to pray in their native language.  

The pastor, Father Ilyas Gill, was also born and raised in Pakistan. He now works to unite Pakistanis from across the tri-state area, from New Jersey to Long Island.    

Parishioner Samson Javed and other Pakistani Catholics came together Sunday to pray for their family and friends as the bishops of Pakistan called for a day of prayer.  

“Showing solidarity with our Pakistan Christians as what recently happened in Jaranwala, so we show our grief and you know to come to pray for them,” said Javed.  

Angel Dilawar moved to the Bronx from Pakistan, along with her twin sister, Amen, seven years ago.  

While the Mass offers a connection to their roots, in the wake of the recent violence, it’s created a moment to reflect.  

“It’s truly an immense privilege to unite as Pakistani Catholics and take pride in the fact that we can freely express our religious beliefs without the shadow of persecution or retribution and the fact that we have each other for support,” Dilawar said.

These Catholics will continue to pray for those who can’t practice their faith openly.